Monday, March 31, 2014

WorldWide Telescope

I attended a science fair for kids at Harvard over the weekend. I'm not sure who had more fun, me or them, but we definitely took different things out of it.  They were pretty excited to run up and down the stairs in a big lecture hall.  I was impressed with the WorldWide Telescope, among other things.

Harvard's Alyssa Goodman gave an engaging presentation where she flew us through a 3D map of the universe.  Did you know you can barely see Earth from the sun it's so tiny?  (Of course you did!  But it's still helpful to "see" that!)  The software program is called WorldWide Telescope.  Setting it up is not as simple as Google Earth and has required a few downloads of other things along the way.  And now that it's up, it appears to be dominating my computer and network.

But it's pretty amazing.  Just exploring the scale of the universe is impressive.  It takes a LONG time to zoom out from the Earth to the sun to the galaxy...fortunately there are a host of navigation tools that work efficiently and are intuitive.

Here's an unimpressive shot of the sun at the center with teeny little planets orbiting around it.

Plus you can go see planets in our solar system and zoom to other galaxies to see pictures of them from various telescopes.

For you mapheads out there, this is a good one.

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